Sync shared folders with Google’s Backup and Sync

screenshot showing shared folder through Google's Backup and Sync desktop app

Do you use Backup and Sync from Google (the successor to Google Drive Desktop) to sync your google drive to your computer but can’t figure out how to get shared folders to show up? While there may have been a more obvious way to enable that back in the Google Drive Desktop days before it was decommissioned in 2018, it’s now behind a hidden keyboard shortcut. Read on to learn how to sync shared folders with Google’s Backup and Sync in two easy steps.

1) Select the shared folder you want to sync

First, find your shared folder in the web client, so go to https://drive.google.com (and log in if you’re not already). Then, click on “Shared With Me” in the left column and then on the shared folder you want to sync:

screenshot of the "shared with me" section of google drive

When the shared folder is properly selected, it will be highlighted in blue (such as my “shared folder for desktop syncing” in the screenshot above).

2) Access the hidden menu with a keyboard shortcut to sync

With the shared folder selected, press Shift+Z on your keyboard, which should bring up a new menu:

screenshot showing the hidden menu after pressing the keyboard shortcut, part of the article of "Sync Shared Folders with Google's Backup and Sync"

What you want to do is add this shared folder to “My Drive”; if “My Drive” isn’t already highlighted green, click on it so it is. Once that’s done, you should see a notification stating it has been added to “My Drive” on the bottom left of the screen:

screenshot showing the notification that the shared folder has been added to "My Drive"

And that’s it, that’s how you sync shared folders with Google’s Backup and Sync. If you check the Google Drive folder on your computer, you should soon see your shared folder appear; note it may take a minute or so for it to update and show up.

screenshot of a shared folder showing up in windows explorer, part of Sync Shared Folders with Google's Backup and Sync article

And now changes you, or anyone else, make to files in the folder will sync across the web and desktop!

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